WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – The Washington Post is reporting President Donald Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a meeting at the White House last week.
Current and former U.S. officials say the information jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.
The Washington Post reported the information was so sensitive it hadn’t even been shared with allies and was highly restricted within the U.S.
But, according to the Washington Post, “as president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.”
Still, experts said it’s information the Russians didn’t need to know.
“The Russians will undoubtedly try to figure out the source of this information to make sure it’s not also collecting on their activities in Syria,” said Michael Morrell, the former deputy director of the CIA.
National security advisor Gen. H.R. McMaster spoke outside the White House about the Washington Post’s story.
“The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false,” McMaster said. “At no time, at no time, were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”
But McMaster did not deny the president disclosed classified information, and the Post is standing by its story.
“If this was above board and not problematic in any way, why did the National Security Council and the Director of NSA call the CIA to give them a heads up on what Trump had just told the Russians?” said Greg Miller, the Washington Post reporter who broke the story.
Edward Snowden – the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified documents – took to Twitter to comment on the report.
The high-profile meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak came just a day after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.
Comey was overseeing an investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election and possible ties between Trump associates and Moscow.